Saturday, February 05, 2011

Part dog, part gremlin - one year on

Some time in the next couple of weeks I have to go to the vet with Trixie and get her boosters done. I've never had to do this with a foster before, because I've never had a foster dog for a whole year before.

I just don't understand why nobody wants this wee girl. I want her. I love her. But she should move on for a whole host of reasons, only one of which is a selfish reason on my part.

Yes, I will admit that one of the great things about dog fostering is the novelty of having new dogs coming in and out of your house all the time, and we haven't had a new dog in for months and months. And yes, I love a bit of drama and high emotion and a happy ending, so there is something very satisfying in taking in a dog that's in bad condition or just a bit lost, feeding it up and worming it and teaching it basic manners and then sending it out to a new home to be loved by a new family. I don't get to do this anymore because Trixie never leaves.

But most of the reasons she should leave have to do with her and the person I know is out there for her. Somewhere out there is a home, preferably headed up by an older woman with either no children or grown-up children, who likes to go for rambly walks some days but shorter walks on other days, who wants a dog to sit on her lap in the evenings and obligingly cover her in hair and breathe dog breath into her face while she's watching telly. Sometimes, if her new owner is really lucky, Trixie will do the very cute thing she does where she pretends to bite your face in order to get you to pay attention to her (seriously, I know this doesn't sound cute, but it is. Enormously.) Or she will settle beside her new owner on the sofa and snore loudly and regularly like your dad at the opera or a pompous business person on a train. (She particularly likes to do this if you are really invested in your programme, like if your friend wrote it or your brother is on it.) Someone is missing out on this.

And Trixie is missing out on what she needs: a home without a pack of bigger, noisier, rougher dogs in it. Our own three core dogs have certain things worked out. They bash against each other to get through doors. They rob each others toys. They steamroll over each other while getting in and out of the car. They bark insanely at other packs of dogs we meet out walking, and the other packs of dogs bark madly back, and the owners manage three seconds of conversation over the heads of these barking dogs before giving up and going their separate ways. They smash into each other running up hills. They bowl each other over running down hills.

Trixie doesn't like these things. She likes to eat her food slowly without other dogs staring at her, willing her to give up in the middle of it. She likes to take her time getting up off the floor to go out, or getting off the sofa. She likes to leave bones in the back garden and for them to be where she left them when she comes back for another look at them. And so on.

Yeah, okay, she has a heart murmur. Who doesn't these days? And yes, she only has one eye and a dead tail and she barks at everyone we meet on the street as if she hated them (she doesn't though. This is just her announcing herself) and she likes to bring me dead rabbits and she comes over all deaf when she's called and she tramples over my laptop when she sits on my lap and she sneaks upstairs and eats the cat food out of their bowls and then throws it up in the kitchen. Again I ask, who doesn't?

She also needs to move on because while she's here there are other dogs we could be fostering, who may otherwise have to go to the pound, or remain in unsuitable homes where both they and their owners are unhappy, or be in kennels where they get no socialization or training or experience of living with a family in a home.

And also, though this really is selfish, if she stays much longer I won't be able to part with her at all.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sometimes I am the nutter

On today's walk, Cody found the most unpleasant shit I have yet encountered on a dog walk and smeared it all over himself when we were only about two minutes from the car at the start of an hour's walk. He was so pleased with how badly he stank. I was very annoyed. I immediately expressed my annoyance by calling him a "fucking shitty bastard" in a very growly displeased voice, and clipping him onto the lead so he couldn't go back for more smearing/rolling fun times.

By the time we got up to the playing fields he was very upset at being on the lead and it was beginning to dawn on him that I wasn't happy with him. He walked with his head and tail down and kept licking his lips the way dogs do when they're not sure what's going to happen next but they are sure they're not going to like it. I saw a full five-litre bottle of water on the ground beside one of the benches at the edge of the football pitch (obviously left over from last weekend's football matches) and figured this was my chance to get some of the shit off Cody without rewarding him.*

So I clipped Cody's lead to the bench, pulled a few fistfuls of grass, and started slopping the water over his back and rubbing at him with the grass. He was a bit whingey about this, but not too distressed. I was muttering at him and doing that great arguing thing that makes people think dog people are crazy.

Cody: whinge whinge whinge (trans: don't kill the Cody!)
Me: Well, if you're going to roll in shite you're going to have to have it washed off.
Cody: whinge whinge whinge (trans: I thought it would bring us closer together!)
Me: Well, it didn't. Now stand still, you fucking shitty bastard.

Just as I was slopping the other half of the water over him, a woman ROARED at me from the other side of the pitch, where she was walking her dog. "What are you doing to that dog?" she shouted.
"Eh?" I said. "I'm washing him!"
"You're what?!" she said. She came a bit closer. "Oh yeah, that is water," she said, "I thought it was petrol."
"Ah right," I said. I laughed nervously. "Yeah, it does look a bit bad, I suppose."
She waved and went on her way. I unclipped Cody. He ran to the middle of the football pitch and started eating some rabbit poo and we were friends again.

*Usual method of de-pooing dogs is to throw a stick into the river over and over again for them to chase. Sadly this is like punishing kids for bad behavior by taking them to Disneyland.